Wake County Schools’ cafeterias going green one tray at a time

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. – For the past few years, Kingswood Elementary has been going green.

Lunch is part of their STEM curriculum, but it’s more than just the food that makes every tray count.

“I thought it would be so much trouble,” said Kingswood Principal Sherry Schliesser.

She was skeptical at first, but Schliesser said students like Muna Onubogu quickly sank their teeth into throwing out old plastic trays in favor of biodegradable ones.

“I think everybody should compost and recycle, and not always just throw away their food,” said fourth grader Onubogu.

After lunch, students help sort compostable waste from the trash.

“We taught them exactly what could go in each of the bins and it was like clockwork,” said Schliesser.

“You don’t want to get any food, fruit, or vegetables,” said Onubogu. “You don’t want to throw out any paper because not a lot of people know this but paper is considered compost.”

Kingswood then uses that compost to grow fresh greens in the school garden that can be served in the cafeteria.

“It’s really nice growing our own food,” said fourth grader Kayra Ucuncu. “It’s way better. It’s fresh. It’s tastier.”

By reducing their waste, Kingswood is also saving money.

“We reduced having our dumpster picked up every week to having our dumpster picked up every four weeks,” said Schliesser.

That’s why Kingswood is now being used as a model for the rest of the district.

“We are learning about how the gasses in the landfill endanger the health of the atmosphere,” said Schliesser. “By reducing that waste we’re able to breathe better. Our students know they are working for their future, and their children’s future.”

By making this move Wake County is taking a step to help make North Carolina schools more sustainable.

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